How to keep your nudes safe from being hacked

September 1st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

naked selfie How to keep your nudes safe from being hackedAs you’re no doubt aware, Jennifer Lawrence has had some naked selfies stolen from her, and according to the very reputable 4chan, they were swiped by someone hacking her iCloud account. If you haven’t seen the photos, then chances are we’ve lost you and you’re burrowing into a search engine now, looking for boobs.

How can you keep your cloud accounts safe? If you have an account with iCloud, Dropbox or Google+, you might find that they automatically upload and save your images.

First thing to do is to make sure your password doesn’t get stolen or is difficult to guess. That’s blindingly obvious, but worth mentioning. Change your passwords regularly and make sure they’re not words, but rather, a collection of letters, numbers and symbols.

It doesn’t matter how safe cloud accounts are made if your password is 123456 or ‘password’.

Another thing you can do is make sure that you switch off the automatic backup services. In all Apple devices, you can disable Photostream. If you turn it off, it’ll delete any automatically stored images from iCloud. You’ll have to delete any manually shared Photostreams yourself.

With Dropbox, your Android device can be set-up to upload every photo and video you take into the cloud. If that’s not your thing, go to ‘settings’ and turn the option off. You’ll also need to delete them from Dropbox manually.

On Android, G+ and Picasa, you can disable automatic photo backup in the Photos app on your device. You’ll need to go to ‘settings’ then Auto-Backup and then untick ‘Back up local folders’.

Of course, you’re not a celebrity so the chances of someone wanting to hack your account and share your photos are slim. However, if you’re feeling jumpy or just want to disable these functions, now you know how.

You’re still not reading this are you. You’re still looking at boobs.

Twitter Logo1 Become more insufferable with Twitter AnalyticsNow you can peek at who is looking at your tweets!

Yes indeed, pump up your ego and assess your online presence, as you can now log in to Twitter Analytics!

You can see how far your “reach” is, work out the ideal audience for your Bake Off-related tweets, and know when not to slip an off-colour joke in.

You can also download the data to browse through offline too. IMAGINE THE FUN YOU’LL HAVE DOING THAT?

Until now, only the celebrities had this option, but now, everyone can do it, which means we’re all just like the famous people, apart from being considerably poorer.

So as long as you’ve had an account for more than a fortnight, you can now see what’s going on. Boost your impact! Find out your bullshit footprint!

Find out who loves you and then perhaps touch yourself, you dirty Herbert.

Kitemarks for money apps

August 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bsi.png Kitemarks for money appsA new kitemark has been launched to help people trust certain apps with their personal data.

The new BSI (British Standards Institution) kitemark has been applied to Barclay’s new Pingit mobile payment service and Barclays Mobile Banking, after they were independently assessed.

Although the kitemark is initially being piloted within the banking industry, the BSI envisages that its use will be adopted by a wider range of firms – for example within the entertainment industry.

Anyone wanting to get a kitemark for their product will have to go through hardcore testing so that their security meets the required standards for dealing with confidential data.

Those that meet the standards will be able to give customers confidence by displaying the kitemark on their products and in their marketing materials.

This is quite the thing as three quarters of Brits now use the internet for shopping and just over half now bank online.

Maureen Sumner Smith who is the UK managing director at BSI, used her mouth and said: “More and more of us are now sharing confidential information through online shopping, mobile banking, booking flights, gaming, university applications or interacting with local government. These behavioural changes from the physical to the digital demand the need for even more rigorous security measures.”

“Many organisations have good information security processes already established, but by having their systems independently tested on a regular basis as part of the BSI kitemark process, they can clearly demonstrate to customers their commitment to safeguarding information.”

Help save Earth from cybercrime!

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

GCHQ Help save Earth from cybercrime!Fancy yourself as some kind of cyber-crim thwarter? Well, you’re in luck.

The British intelligence agency GCHQ, have launched an online game to test whether you’d be any good at stopping a fictional attack.

GCHQ are hoping to find some masterminds among the gameplayers, and then use them, USE THEM FOR THEIR MINDS.

And it’s not a piece of puff, winners of previous missions have gone on to work at the agency.

In the game, called ‘Assignment: Astute Explorer’, users must protect a fictitious aerospace technology company threatened by imminent attack from imaginary cyber terrorists called The Flag Day Associates. There’s even YouTube threats and all sorts. Fancy that!

The story goes that fictitious company Ebell are concerned about the threat of an imminent attack and have asked GCHQ operatives (the public playing the game) to assess the scale of the threat. Sounds like fun.

If you fancy your chances at, you know, one day possibly saving the world, head here.

ditto pic 300x219 Tumblr and Ditto: stalking your photos for brandsIn ‘web-stalking brand awareness reach’ news, Tumblr have teamed up with Ditto Labs. Ditto analyse photos posted on social media, and scan them for any brand-related data.

Basically anything can be deemed as data, from a brand of drink being drunkenly held aloft, to a sportswear label seen on a garment.

Apparently this deal will give advertisers the chance to see how they’re being perceived.

It’s a new way of research without badgering you on the street or filling in a form, but still feels a little stalkery.

But the futuristically named T.R. Newcomb, head of business development at Tumblr, stated: “If Coke wants to understand the nature of the conversation we can sift through and deliver it to Coke.”

He ominously added “Right now, we’re not planning to do anything ad-related.”

Yeah right. Either way, looks like Yahoo!, who bought Tumblr, are finally throwing a bit of weight around in a bid to start making more money on the blogging portal.

Want to see where Google have tracked you?

August 18th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Google Maps Want to see where Google have tracked you?You know that Google tracks your every movement don’t you? Unless you’ve tinkered with the location settings on your phone, they know where you’ve been going. Including that late night jog you went on… to a massage parlour.

Well, if you didn’t know, there’s a map online, where you can see to what level Google have been following you around.

Of course, many of you will look at your map and realise that you’ve got the life-radius of a beetle tied to a nail, walking around in ever decreasing circles.

You’ll have to log in with your Google account, but once you do, you’ll see a 2D map with a record of where you’ve been for the last month. Whether you think this is a cause for concern is your business, but looking at the map of your recent history might make you feel a bit weird in a Minority Report kinda way.

Have a look at the map of your whereabouts here.

facebook 300x300 Third of workers happy for employers to look at their FacebookAlmost one in three employees is happy for their employer to have access to their personal data.

31% of employees – chiefly those born in the 80s/90s, or Generation Y as they are referred to – are quite happy for their employer to look at their internet presences and social media dallying.

Mainly because the idea of having some privacy online seems insane to a generation that have been brought up on the internet.

The study questioned 2,000 UK workers, also found that 59% of people were willing to be available at all times in return for job security.

This is just one of the findings in PriceWaterhouseCooper’s new Future of Work report.

The report looks into how people work, and their attitudes towards it, predicts that companies could be able to analyse a person’s social media profile to understand what makes them tick in the workplace, and also try and understand why some stuff leave.

Perhaps analysing a post that says “I hate my job, my boss, all the staff and the entire UK operation” might indicate that a staff member is in some way unhappy.

Anthony Bruce, who is HR workforce analytics leader at PwC, said: “Just as advertisers and retailers are using data from customers’ online and social media activity to tailor their shopping experience, organisations could soon start using workers’ personal data, with their permission, to measure and anticipate performance and retention issues.”

“This sort of data profiling could also extend to real-time monitoring of employees’ health, with proactive health guidance to help reduce sick leave.”

Hmm – ‘real-time monitoring of employee’s health’ – not sounding creepy there AT ALL Bruce. Of course, the danger here is that they’ll base your mood and health entirely through algorithms and, if your Facebook is filled with pictures of Grumpy Cat, you might find your boss paying to get you spayed on your lunch.

google plus logo Google are scanning emails... but catching child abusersGoogle have been relatively open about how they scan everyone’s emails – it is so they can tailor adverts to customers and make loads of money. However, not everyone is happy about that, especially with all that NSA business.

However, reports say that a Google tip-off from the contents of a Gmail account ended up in the arrest of a child abuser from Texas. Police say Google told the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about the content in an email sent by John Henry Skillern, who is a registered sex offender.

“He was trying to get around getting caught, he was trying to keep it inside his email,” said Detective David Nettles. “I can’t see that information, I can’t see that photo, but Google can.”

So what’s going on?

Pictures are hashed which creates a unique code for an image. The hash is compared with a database of known child abuse images and, if they match, details are passed to the NCMEC (or, if you’re in Britain, the Internet Watch Foundation, who Google actually give funding to). Then, a trained expert looks at the case and decides whether or not to pass it on to the police.

AOL also employ a similar system and they caught someone sharing illegal images last year.

The moral quandary is that, while the capture of child abusers is absolutely good and noble, Google and others are sifting through everyone’s correspondence and repacking it for advertisers. With Google’s buying of Nest, some people even think that they’ll be able to spy on you via your thermostat (a bit like the Piers Brosnan robot house in The Simpsons).

So what’s the trade off? If you’re not doing anything wrong, should people be scanning your emails? Do you not mind because child abusers can be caught? Is this case being crowed about in a bid to try and distract users from something a bit dodgy going on? Or do we just accept it because this is how the internet works?

Facebook launched their Messenger service not too long ago, in a bid to muscle in on the market that WhatsApp have enjoyed so much. If you have the FB app on your phone, you were pretty much forced to download the Messenger app because Zuckerberg wouldn’t let you read your inbox without it.

Most people weren’t too fussed – it is just another app right?

Well, if you look in the terms and conditions, as spotted by IA there’s some very dodgy looking stuff in there. Not surprising that Facebook are being shady, but it makes for grim reading.

facebook messenger 500x476 Facebook Messenger recording your calls without permission?

As you can see, the t&cs say that having Messenger on your phone allows Facebook to read your phone call log, read data about who you’re contacting and when, and most worryingly, allows Facebook to take pictures and videos without your consent and record audio of your calls.

Of course, there’s still going to be people who aren’t bothered about this because they think their lives are too humdrum to warrant recording, but this is worrying. It isn’t the only app that asks for permissions such as this.

Naturally, you can uninstall the app if this makes you jumpy, or at least toggle the security settings. This seems to be the permissions for the Android version of the app, with the iPhone version being slightly different.

Facebook. Looks like they’re at it again.

Nuisance calls: still a nuisance

July 25th, 2014 4 Comments By Ian Wade

rotary cell phone 300x197 Nuisance calls: still a nuisanceThe Telephone Preference Service is bloody useless, say Ofcom.

The TPS runs a register designed to reduce any unsolicited sales calls. Firms can be fined for ignoring the list.

According to the findings of the research, while the TPS is “highly effective” at stopping calls to consumers registered on TPS by legitimate telemarketing companies,  TPS-registered consumers still receive on average 2.5 nuisance calls per month.

It transpires that only a third of “nuisance” calls are blocked by the service, which allows individuals to opt-out of marketing calls, research has found.

However some rogue companies are flouting the rules, according to regulators. And us lot unwittingly give consent for calls by ticking a box on devious online sales forms.

The research, commissioned by Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office, found that registering with the TPS blocked 35% of all nuisance calls.

If you’re an individual, registration on the TPS is free and takes 28 days to become effective.

It is a legal requirement that all organisations – including charities, voluntary organisations and political parties – do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS unless they have the individual’s consent to do so.

There are plans to increase the level of fines levied on firms that make nuisance calls, and these are due in October.

Fines of up to 20% of annual turnover could be handed down to firms using information gathered by unlawful unsolicited calls and texts. That’ll learn ‘em.

Let’s see what the swarthly named Claudio Pollack from Ofcom has to say: “We understand how frustrating it is to still receive some unsolicited sales calls despite being TPS-registered,”

“That is why we welcome tough enforcement action from the ICO against rogue companies who breach the rules.”

Currently, the ICO must demonstrate “significant damage or distress” caused to individuals by nuisance calls or spam texts in order to issue monetary penalties of up to £500,000.

Christ, let’s hope no mobile company has pissed off its users by spamming them willy nilly then. Oh.

Ofcom: Brits want a dirty internet

July 23rd, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

porn Ofcom: Brits want a dirty internetThe mucky-minded of Britain were asked if they wanted the government to introduce porn filters to the internet. An overwhelming majority laughed in the face of such an idea, with a take-up for Sky, BT and Virgin Media all below 10%.

Ofcom have done a report on such a thing, and found that most people chose not to block porn from their internet connections, telling ISPs to stick their adult content filters up their holes. Yeah. Like that. Oh yeah. Einfach so, mein kleines Kaninchen.

This is bad news for the Govt because they shouted loudly about all this and made BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media all contact their customers to force them to turn the modesty filters on or off. It is a weird notion. Imagine a Government official popping their head around your door and saying “watching any dirty films any time soon?”

You’d throw a shoe at them.

Ofcom found that 5% of new BT customers turned the filters on, with 8% of Sky customers and a measly 4% of Virgin Media users. The fusty sorts at TalkTalk already have the Homesafe parental controls system. 36% of those guys wanted to get it turned on. Oooh yeah.

Now, all ISPs are required to ‘pre-tick’ the box that sees adult content filters switched to ‘on’, which means new customers have to actively say they want it switched off during the installation process.

Naturally, the whole thing has already been a farce, with non-bongo sites being blocked by these clunky modesty wrappers. People found that they were denied access to sites which offer help about domestic violence and sexual health.

Either way, it seems like Britain is all for a dirtier internet, which is to be applauded. So the chastity belt wearing simpletons at Westminster.

private 300x199 How your banking habits and other personal data are affecting your insurance premiums...We’d all like an extra 20% discount on our car insurance, right? Well it seems that some insurers are offering up to a fifth off car insurance premiums for ‘prudent’ people.

Some insurance firms claim that they have found a strong link between people who are prudent with their spending and those less likely to take risks while driving. If you’re careful with your money, you’ll be careful on the road. This means that Lloyds insurance arm Scottish Widows is apparently offering up to 20% off to certain customers who, for example, stay within their overdraft limits, or never need an overdraft, or who never miss a credit card payment.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that renewing car insurance becomes a more labour-intensive process, requiring drivers to detail their financial histories in order to try and get a discount. Instead, this is just part of the ‘big data revolution’ which sees businesses using consumers’ personal information in new and exciting ways. And Scottish Widows aren’t alone.

We’ve known for years that Tesco monitors the shopping habits of Clubcard holders, and Tesco insurance reportedly offers discounts of up to 40% on home and car insurance to those whose shopping habits indicate they would be a careful driver. However, they are not forthcoming on which products are so indicative. Aviva changes house insurance premiums depending on the exact location of properties on a street.

But while no one is going to be miffed at being offered an un-requested 20% discount, as with everything else in life, the fear is that this is, in fact, a double edged sword. While those with ‘good’ financial habits are offered money off, are those struggling to make ends meet going to be penalised even further by higher premiums? Apparently not.

A spokesman for Scottish Widows told the Telegraph that “this use of the data we hold is allowing us to offer discounts on motor insurance to customers who tend to show care in areas like personal finances. But we will not be using this information to increase premiums.” Sounds pretty categoric. For now anyway.

However, privacy groups remain unconvinced, and consider this alternate use of data to be a breach of trust by holders of super-sensitive data.

Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Despite this being within the law, the way many companies go about doing this is underhand and goes far beyond what customers would expect them to do with their data.”  She called on insurers to give customers the option of explicitly opting-in to the use of big data rather than just allowing them to opt out, if consumers are even aware of how businesses are using their data.

So what do you think? Is it OK so long as it only confers positive benefits, or will the sharp side of the deal inevitably turn up before long?

david cameron government Hello, emergency laws to monitor your phones and internet useEmergency laws are being brought in next week which will force phone and internet companies to hold records of customers’ calls, texts and visits to websites.

Sounds dodgy doesn’t it? How can a government do something like that? Well, Cameron & Co. have wheeled out the usual excuse of terrorism. See, if the government can snoop on everyone, that’ll stop someone from listening to God and blowing themselves up.

Obviously.

According to Cameron, these fast-tracked measures are absolutely necessary to defend our national security against the threat from Iraq and Syria. If we don’t, the consequences are “grave.” This move is a response to a ruling by the European Court of Justice which struck down regulations that allowed communications companies from storing data for police use for a year. Downing Street reckons that we’re all doomed if phone and internet companies start deleting these records.

“It is the first duty of government to protect our national security and to act quickly when that security is compromised,” David Cameron said. “As events in Iraq and Syria demonstrate, now is not the time to be scaling back on our ability to keep our people safe. The ability to access information about communications and intercept the communications of dangerous individuals is essential to fight the threat from criminals and terrorists targeting the UK. No government introduces fast track legislation lightly. But the consequences of not acting are grave.”

“I want to be very clear that we are not introducing new powers or capabilities – that is not for this Parliament. This is about restoring two vital measures ensuring that our law enforcement and intelligence agencies maintain the right tools to keep us all safe.”

Nick Clegg, a man hired to wander around Whitehall to say ‘does anything need doing? No? Okay. Fancy a pint after? You’re busy? Never mind then’, said these emergency laws “will not be used as an excuse for more powers, or for a ‘snooper’s charter’.”

“Liberty and security must go hand in hand. We can’t enjoy our freedom if we’re unable to keep ourselves safe.”

Tom Watson, meanwhile, isn’t impressed and said on the radio this morning that this is a “stitch up” that denies MPs the chance to be able to scrutinise the legislation: ”This is a secret deal between party leaders. There hasn’t been a bill published, we find out this morning when Parliament is on a one-line whip and MPs are in their constituencies that next week they will railroad through emergency legislation.”

“If you are an MP, you probably shouldn’t bother turning up for work next week because what you think doesn’t really matter. They are ramping up the rhetoric on it but no one in civic society has a chance to form a view on this or lobby their MP or talk to them about it. I understand that Labour’s shadow cabinet is seeing it this morning. They’ve not had a chance to think about it yet.”

Cue: If you’re not doing anything wrong, it doesn’t matter arguments.

facebook mobile 300x200 Regulator probes into Facebook for emotion experimentFacebook – yes, it is still going – have been playing with people’s emotions which is very sinister, even though the company themselves are playing it down by shrugging and goofily saying it didn’t really work and, pschaw! don’t you worry about it!

However, people are worried about it and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is going to investigate. They want to know whether or not Facebook Inc broke data protection laws when they allowed researchers to do a psychological experiment on users of the social network.

Now, Facebook are taking it a little more seriously.

“It’s clear that people were upset by this study and we take responsibility for it. We want to do better in the future and are improving our process based on this feedback. The study was done with appropriate protections for people’s information and we are happy to answer any questions regulators may have,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Here’s the kicker though.

The ICO can levy fines for up to £500,000. Facebook have that kind of money down the back of their sofa, so they’ll probably say sorry, pay the fine and then conduct some more experiments because they’re bored.

Meanwhile, fans of Edward Snowden will be weighing up whether to run around, wailing hysterically about how the baddies are coming to get us or to tweet “Oh, you don’t say?!” sarcastically to their 103 followers.

What has this whole debacle taught us? That everyone, regardless of viewpoint, is annoying.

Facebook have been toying with your emotions

June 30th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Bitterwallet Facebook censorship Facebook have been toying with your emotionsEveryone knows that Facebook are a company that indulge in dark behaviour, but their latest stunt will have a number of people more than worried.

They’ve been trying to control people’s emotions.

Now, of course, there’ll be swathes of people who will sniff at the whole idea, saying that no-one should be gullible enough to have their feelings messed with by a corporation, however those people are probably feeling smug because Facebook got in their brain and told them to do so.

Basically, what happened is that Facebook did a psychology experiment on around 700,000 users without asking. They manipulated news feeds in a bid to control which emotional expressions members were exposed to.

Why? Well, it was done in collaboration with two US universities to see if “exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviours”.

Facebook said there was “no unnecessary collection of people’s data” and that “none of the data used was associated with a specific person’s Facebook account,” like that’s the thing anyone is concerned about. This isn’t a personal data issue – it’s a Controlling People’s Minds Like Some Bleak Sci-Fi Movie issue. It is more of an issue that a big company doesn’t fully understand ethics, consent and power on its platform.

Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco were also in cahoots on this experiment.

Labour MP Jim Sheridan wasn’t happy: ”This is extraordinarily powerful stuff and if there is not already legislation on this, then there should be to protect people. They are manipulating material from people’s personal lives and I am worried about the ability of Facebook and others to manipulate people’s thoughts in politics or other areas.”

Yeah. That’s why everyone hates Ed Miliband.

He continued: “If people are being thought-controlled in this kind of way there needs to be protection and they at least need to know about it.”

Adam Kramer of Facebook, who co-authored the report on the research, said: “We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out. At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook.”

However, he admitted that the firm did not “clearly state our motivations in the paper” and that ”I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my co-authors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused.”